A manager for the popular Facebook page “Restless Patriots” said she was given a 30-day ban by the social media giant after posting a picture of San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik, according to a post published at the Daily Wire on Friday. The picture included a simple question asking page supporters if they agreed with Donald Trump’s idea of banning Muslim immigration.
“Presidential candidate Donald Trump is calling for ‘a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” the picture said. “Do you agree?”
Facebook moderators, however, took offense and banned the page manager shortly after she posted the image. “You’ve repeatedly posted things that aren’t allowed on Facebook,” the site said in its message.
It’s not the first time the page has run afoul of Facebook’s somewhat arbitrary rules, the Daily Wire said. According to the report, the page was once suspended for a meme about Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.
Writing at the Daily Wire, Pardes Seleh noted a bit of hypocrisy in Facebook’s action. According to Seleh, Facebook took down Malik’s pledge of support to ISIS only after she and her husband murdered 14 innocent civilians in San Bernardino, California.
“She can pledge her allegiance to ISIS on Facebook but we get 30 days for posting her photo,” the unnamed page manager said. This double standard was recently highlighted in an article by byteclay.com’s Renee Nal.
The “African American Defense League” page, Nal said, “actively encourages violence” against white people. Initially, Facebook said the page did not violate their standards but eventually yanked it. Meanwhile, she added, conservatives are routinely subjected to what can only be seen as harassment and intimidation.
“In a recent interview with Sean Hannity, Jennifer Thalasinos, the widow of a victim of last week’s terror attack in San Bernardino Nicholas Thalasinos, commented that her husband – a conservative that she believes was targeted for his views by the Muslim shooters – was previously targeted on Facebook, resulting in him being blocked for extended periods of time,” Nal said. “James Neighbors, the founder of the popular ‘Overpasses for America’ Facebook page told the Examiner that he has been placed in the ‘Facebook Gulag’ ‘4 or 5 times in 2015 alone…’ Neighbors said that he ‘spent essentially 4 of the last 6 months locked down for the most frivolous of offenses,” she added.
Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to “add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world.” He also promised Muslims he would “create a peaceful and safe environment for you.” That post was “liked” by over 1.4 million users and has been shared over 225,000 times.
Buzzfeed’s Alex Kantrowitz said Zuckerberg’s promise “elevates a tension that Facebook has long tried to quietly manage, prompting a high-profile clash between what are at some level irreconcilable goals.” Recently, Kantrowitz added, citing the Washington Examiner, Facebook moderators “were also under fire this week when a meme featuring a quote from the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir” was removed for allegedly violating the site’s standards.
Kantrowitz further said those policies are “not enforced with consistency on the platform’s massive scale: You don’t have to dig too hard to find racist, anti-Semitic, or Islamophobic memes.” This is a common complaint among conservatives as we’ve reported many times.
“Facebook’s next steps aren’t clear,” Buzzfeed added. “The company could remove Trump, or his posts, from the platform, and effectively become a censor of political speech. The company’s statement, which said it’s looking at this content on a case by case basis, already implies that this is an option. The alternative is to ignore user complaints about Trump’s speech, and recognize that Facebook — like America’s presidential campaign — whose rhetoric is not particularly ‘peaceful and safe’ right now.”
But for many conservatives, Facebook has already become a censor of political speech. And for many critics, the effort to silence those opposed to Islamic terror is in no danger of ending anytime soon.